7 Habits for Happiness

7 Habits for Happiness

Happiness, often perceived as a fleeting emotion, can actually be cultivated and maintained through deliberate practice. This idea is beautifully illustrated in a recent study conducted by the University of Bristol, where researchers found that happiness can be sustained through seven specific habits.

7 Habits for Happiness - Mihiraa Health Insight
7 Habits for Happiness – Mihiraa Health Insight

The journey to happiness might seem simple: just be happy. However, achieving and sustaining happiness amid life’s challenges is a complex endeavor. The University of Bristol’s “Science of Happiness” program, launched in 2018, has been at the forefront of teaching students how to foster a sense of well-being through scientifically-backed practices. The program’s success was evident when a study revealed that students who continued to practice these habits years after taking the course reported lasting improvements in their happiness.

Dr. Bruce Hood, a key figure behind the program and the author of “The Science of Happiness: Seven Lessons for Living Well,” emphasizes the importance of these practices. Here are the seven habits he highlights:

1. Performing Acts of Kindness: Simple acts of kindness can significantly boost happiness. Whether it’s helping a friend or a stranger, kindness fosters a sense of connection and well-being.

2. Increasing Social Connections: Building and nurturing relationships is crucial. Engaging in conversations, even with people you don’t know well, can enhance your sense of belonging and support.

3. Savoring Experiences: Taking time to appreciate and fully engage in positive experiences can help prolong the feelings of joy and satisfaction.

4. Focusing on Positive Events: Deliberately drawing attention to the positive aspects of each day can help shift your overall outlook to be more optimistic.

5. Practicing Gratitude: Regularly expressing gratitude, whether through journaling or thanking others, can lead to greater happiness and contentment.

6. Being Physically Active: Exercise is a powerful tool for improving mood and reducing stress. Regular physical activity can enhance overall well-being.

7. Exploring Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness and meditation help in managing stress and increasing awareness, leading to a calmer and more centered life.

The study’s findings are compelling. Out of 228 undergraduates who participated, 51% continued to practice these habits and reported sustained happiness, even years after completing the course. This long-term impact underscores the potential of these habits to bring about lasting change.

Dr. Hood explains that the course is designed to shift students’ perspectives from a self-centered view to a more interconnected understanding of their place in the world. This shift helps individuals see their problems as less overwhelming and enjoy the benefits of social support.

Neurobiologist Dr. Tobias Esch, who was not involved in the study, concurs with Dr. Hood’s findings. He points out that happiness is a fundamental biological necessity, deeply embedded in our evolution. Happiness involves the brain’s reward system, which increases motivation and reduces stress.

Dr. Esch also highlights that while genetics and external circumstances play a role, a significant portion of happiness comes from internal work, such as perspective-taking and continuous learning. This aligns with Dr. Hood’s emphasis on the importance of ongoing practice.

Despite the positive results, the study also found that 49% of the students did not maintain their happiness levels. Dr. Hood suggests that his future research will explore the reasons behind this, beyond the obvious cessation of the happiness practices.

In essence, happiness is a process rather than a static state. By incorporating these seven habits into daily life, individuals can cultivate a lasting sense of well-being. The University of Bristol’s “Science of Happiness” program offers a valuable roadmap for anyone seeking to lead a more joyful and fulfilling life.


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